Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rainy Sunday Morning

It started to rain from 3am+. When I awoke at 6.30am, it was still raining. I decided to go down to MF anyway, and there were just 9 of us. When the rain slowed to a trickle, we set off for our eagerly awaited long run.

I took it real easy this morning, running and chatting with Michael, Phei Sunn. Ong, Jimmy and Trevor had run ahead. Michael was enjoying the run in the light drizzle, and I was pretty happy with the pace too. Inside Marina South, I moved slightly ahead to show the way, and as I neared the Marina South Pier, the rest were on the return. We took a water break at the Pier, and continued back. Mike and I ran together once more, all the way along Keppel Road and we only broke off near Kampong Bahru.

I proceeded towards Morse Road, and went real easy on the upslopes. When I reached the top, I went for a water stop, and decided not to run another loop. I went on to finish off towards Harbourfront and then Telok Blangah Rise. My legs felt tired, more like I ran for a long distance. It was a good workout nevetherless, and I was glad I started off despite the light rain. Michael told me about a good Nike sale, and I went with the family for some Ramen and Korean delicaies, and shopping at the Nike and Fila outlets in Marina Square....was quite fruitful there :)

Distance: 26km__Time: 2hr40min__Pace: 6:06min/km

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

MF Hill Intervals + Staircase

Did 5 sets of 1.6km MF Loop yesterday. There was another large turnout, and I spotted 1-2 more new runners. Cosmic was a surprise guest. We ran from ClubHouse along Henderson Road, up Morse Road, and started at the Mf Loop carpark. I did an average of about 8:30min per loop, which was just ok. I took a good lunch and bananas just before the run, and that gave me good energy to complete the hard run.

Went on to do staircases by the side of MF, and because the slope running down was dark, we had to climb down the 256steps after we have run/walked up. By the end of the stairs, my legs were feeling jelly...I shuddered to think how I climbed Mt. KK last year for 3.5hrs just to get to the summit, not to mention another 3hrs down....yikes.

Alan Chao (who did very well at the recent Mizuno MF Race) shared with me that the staircase (level 1) was his ninja training ground for his 'elite' team. He mentioned that if I were to do 3-5sets of the staircase running up, after each MF training run session, my timing for 10km will improve by 4-5min, and 21km will improve by 5-10min minimum....hehe, I don;t think I am cut out for that type of I am not one who likes stairs in the first place :)

5 x 1.6km Hill Repeat
3 x 256steps Stairs Repeat

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mizuno Mt. Faber 10km Race


It was the 10km race at MF, a revival of what used to be a regular race organized by Brooks in the 1980s, and this year Mizuno had brought it back. As it was the first time we were having a race at MF in a lomg while, participation was good, especially for the SAFRA Runners. Lots of MR25 runners and school middle-distance runners were represented as well.

I met up with the SAFRA Runners at MF, and Brokie+Vincent joined us too. When Ong arrived, all of us did a warm-up jog to the start point at Henderson CC. A crowd had gathered already, and was good to meet up with many friends from SgRunners, the 3 SAFRA Running Clubs, Animiles, Trifam, MR25. Good to see Akira decked in stylish red, and was impressed that he was the main organizer for this race. Good to see bbmon...wah, she lost some weight, SC5, Vivian Tang, Anna, Stephen Lee and lots of familiar faces.

The startoff at about 7.35am was erratic, with runners going in all directions, and some even waiting by the side of the road to join in. I moved into a 5min/km pace early on, taking care not to extend too much too early. I was following along some familiar backs, and 1km into the run, a number of runners were overtaking me. They were revving their paces quite early. As we ran towards Morse Road, I took back some positions as some of the runners were slowing down (possibly in antipation of the slope up to MF). I chugged up MF, slowing overtaking the tiring legs as we went round a few bends. When we hit MF loop, we were forced to run along the narrow channel to the was tiring to run behind the slowing runners, as well as trying to moving around the 2-man channel.
After a bit of huffing and puffing, I made it to the top at Jewel Box in 24min....was glad to see the first water point, and stopped to take 2 cups of water before playing catch up with those that went past. There were 2 girls that caught my was Priscilla, a SAFRA Runner from TP, and the other a young school runner...these two were running very strong, and I was using them as pacers as we ran down Kampong Bahru. Once onto Telok Blangah Rise, I managed to overtake quite a number of guys on the slope, and finally ran past Priscilla...she eventually took 9th posiiton in the Women's Open, in front of Lai The remaining 4pm was quite mental as we charged through traffic junctions, and I was halted for a while at one of them. Many of the runners were tiring, but they continued on. I maintained my 5min/km pace, and managed to overtake more of them.

After what seemed like a long time, I finally round the bend and headed for Henderson Road...yippe, just about 1km more. Time was 44min...I was thinking I could still do a sub 50min run lah. I did not charge, but maintained a steady pace up the final upslope along Tiong Bahru Park. I spotted small Chua in front, and then tried to narrow the gap. Running into Henderson CC, saw Melvin who had already finished, shouting '200m more'....whoot, I picked up pace, waited for the runners in front to clear, and trotted to the finish in 49min10sec. I allowed 2 to overtake me atthe end, so I could have a clear view, just in case there were photos...hehe. Thanks to Ripley and WaiFung who had taken photos of us when we were finishing. I was happy to finish in sub 5omin, and when I heard from the Organizer that the distance was actually more than 10.5km, I felt that my timing was quite ok.

SAFRA Runners

Joined the rest in cheering for running friends coming in, and downed 2 bottles of 100plus. Took quite a number of group photos, and went to cheer our running friends who had won prizes...well done to Alan Chao, bbmon, Lai Chee, Priscilla, Vivian Tang, Anna Teo, Uncle Lim, Ramos, Juwatim...all of whom did very well for podium. Also congrats to lucky PS who got a nice lucky draw prize. I enjoyed the whole atmosphere more than the run itself, and somehow, a 10km is always a tough run for me :)

Distance: 10.5km__Time: 49min10sec__Pace: 4:41min/km

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Upcoming NIE Charity Run....Make Plans

Received an email from the organizers of the NIE Relay Run 2006 about the second edition of the run this year. As I recalled (FR of last year's inaugural run can be found HERE), we had a wonderful time last year running in what was a meaningful and successful charity run event for the Singapore Heart Foundation. Wonderful. So, I urge you to mark it down in your calendar as a MUST-DO running event....


Dear Dream Runner

I read yr blog occasionally and I also happen to be in the organizing com of the above event. I had read that you and your running buddies took part in our inaugural run last year – the overniter 12 hr run on Oct 13 & 14. Thanks for the enthusiastic support. We were able to raise around 40k for the S’pore Heart Foundation.

I’m pleased to announce that we are organizing the 2nd edition to be held, tentatively, on Friday, Aug 3, from 7 pm. This run will not be over night nor 12 hrs long. The format will be a relay of 6 runners x a 4.5 km loop around NIE. Again, this will be for a charitable cause, details of which will be confirmed soon.

On behalf of the organizing committee, may I seek your help to spread the word around. We need all the help we can get to muster a high participation so that the fund raising effort would be fruitful. As for the run itself, rest assured we will make it a challenging experience for the running fraternity.

When we have more info confirmed, I shall continue to share them with you.

Thanks & best regards
For the Org Com
NIE Director’s Relay Run 07
Tel: 6790 3615

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Hammie Strain

As the committee members were involved in a meeting to work out details of the MF Challenge (maiden Ultra-Marathon run in the MF area), I was asked to lead the runners for an easy 10km run around the reverse MF 10km route. I gave a short brief of the route and off we went at 6.50pm. As there were some new runners, I paused at strategic turning points to ensure that they took the correct turns.

I took a slower, but more steady pace going up Morse Road. Elangovan was sprinting up the MF slopes, doing his Ninja training *faint*. Heard him telling DO that he won't be joining in the Mizuno MF 10km run this I wondered why he was training there for. Throughout the run, I had this naggy 'pull' on my left hamstring....must be my muscles getting tight to go see Neny soon. Waited at the top for the rest, before making a final run back to the ClubHouse. The MF Runners sure have improved a lot....Henry, Shirley, Thomas all were running a lot faster compared to the first time I knew them a couple of months back...I guess thats what the slopes at MF do for runners heh :)

Completed the run, and was trying to stretch my hamstring. I could feel the pain in them, not so much due to fatigue as I have not done that much running recently. It could be due to the muscles getting 'knotted' up, and pulling....hmm, I really need to be more hardworking to stretch.


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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Went the wrong way....AGAIN!

Went down to MF for the second recce of the Mizuno MF race route on Tuesday evening. There was a large turnout, with quite a number of guests joining in to check out the route ahead of the race this Sunday. I tried on my Gel Speedstar to see if I could use it for this Sunday's race.

Lai Chee asked me if I was familiar with the route, and I explained that I got lost the first recce....the route is a little confusing in the night, especially after coming down from Kampong Bahru side of the hill. We started off from MF ClubHouse at 6.45pm, and soon all were picking up pace towards Morse Road. Up Morse Road, I took a steady pace, insistent I should reach up the top with some spares. This portion of the upslope will 'kill' runners if they do not 'reserve' themselves on race day.

I reached the top of MF, overtaking a few who ran in front earlier. On the steep downslope of Kampong Bahru side, I was very careful not to 'rush' down, as this portion is real bad for the knees. Reached down, and ran along the slope of Telok Blangah Rise, then turned along Henderson Industrial Estate. The front runners like Bug, Wong, Jimmy and Ong were kind enough to station themselves at strategic turning points. I overtook 3 more runners as I ran Lower Delta Rd, and I kept left thinking I will find Henderson Road. I then found myself running towards the ClubHouse...heh, too early liao....Arghh, I took a turn too early. There was no one at that strategic junction as I ran back towards it....then I saw Sok Hwa coming up, and I signalled her to the right direction.

From then on, I had lost track of my timing and pace. I plodded on, and soon found Henderson Road. I was pretty drained as I ran up the final slopes of Henderson Rd towards the CC. Met Wong at the final junction near the ClubHouse, and he guided us to a loop inside (which would have to be run in the initial start of the race), adding another 500m or so. I reached the ClubHouse 'spent' from this short, but hard run. The slopes in the MF area do make this 10km route a challenging one for most casual runners like myself. They informed that we did about 55min for the whole run....did a great stretchdown routine by Julie, and finally savoured the goodness of 'Hong Zhao Chi' after missing it for a few weeks now.

Distance: 10.5km__Time: 55min__Pace: 5:14min/km

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Part of SCSM Marathon Route

The last time I ran into Marina South was at the SCSM06 in the first week of December last year. I have heard updates from some of the regular runners in that area about the construction works inside. A group of about 10+ started at SAFRA MF this morning for the 23km run Fennel, Derrick, Jaime, Phei Sunn, Alber, Julie, Teck Hou, Ong, Mak, KK, Trevor were all set. Wai Fung who had just recovered from her ITB injury went to do her own run.

I had just a meusli bar for brekky, and did not bring my fuel belt along. The initial run along Harbourfront and Keppel, then into Marina South was pretty smooth. Trevor, Derrick and myself took turns to lead the way. KK was running along with us. The stretch into Marina South, pass the Victorbowl area and then to the Ferry Terminal was pretty mental. The sun was out at certain lips were parched...I kept going and planned to do a water break at Victorbowl.

I reached Victorbowl in 1hr16min...estimated 14km covered. As I walked up the stairs, I was surprised to see locks on the entrance....aiyo, the place was closed. I looked around and found that the whole place was deserted. I looked around for toilets, and found them to be locked too. I then realized that the whole place was shut down...wah, my morale dropped water, and I was feeling weak. I walked around a bit, and then saw Derrick running up. He told me that the place was shut for at least 3months...I should have taken a drink at the Jetty earlier...shucks.

It was a long way out from then on...spotted KK in front, and asked him for some water. As we exited to Prince Edward Road, I went to the Bus, water at last. Drank my fill, and then relief my problematic stomach as well. I felt quite weak as I walked out from the Bus Depot....I proceeded to run at a slower pace along the tough stretch of Keppel Road and then towards Harbourfront. The sun was beating down, and I felt drained....most likely due to the lack of water earlier. By the time I reached the foot of MF at Morse Road, I was totally spent. I decided to just jog slowly up MF, and when I reached the carpark at MF loop, I had to walk to take a breather. After 200m, I continued on to reach the top. My throat was so dry I had to take another pit-stop...quite unusual for me to take so many stops.

I took the road down Kampong Bahru side, very slowly. As I ran down, I was contemplating if I should do next week's Mizuno MF 10km run...I was having doubts if I could finish it well. WTH, I'll just go and do a casual run to complete....I won't push it. With that decision, I made my way along the small slope at Telok Blangah Rise and back to the ClubHouse. I was so glad that Jaime offered me a 100plus....I grabbed it and immediately went into the aircon part of the ClubHouse. I bought another Aloe Vera drink to supplement. I felt very dry, and I downed lots of water. This was one of the hardest run for me this year. I had no mood to eat, and left the place after washing up.

Distance: 23km__Time: 2hr10min__Pace: 5:39min/km

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Track Intervals In The Rain...

Due to the heavy downpour on Tuesday, the SAFRA MF track interval training was swapped from Tuesday evening to Thursday. There was quite a turnout this thursday evening, as we prepared ourselves for a hard workout at Queenstown Stadium. I had on my new AdiZero KAHA, and was hoping it would not get wet from the slight drizzle.

When we started off at 6.50pm, the skies were gloomy, but the rain had abetted. Because of the slipeery surface, we all jogged cautiously as a warm-up routine to Queenstown Stadium. When we were settled to do the 1st set of 1.6km, there was a light drizzle. I could feel the lightness of the KAHA, and was glad I brought it for the trackwork. The bitumen track did offer me more grip, and my concerns of cornering soon took a back-seat. I finished the 1 mile run in 6:48....hmm, quite ok as I was not pushing it.

We were supposed to do 5 800m sets after that, and was given 4min to do each 800m. I was always running the sets along with Jimmy Chow, small chua, Ronnie, Bill, KokKong, sometimes with Bug, Melvin and Derrick in front. Trainer Ong did 1 lap as he had to stop to time for the rest of the runners. Julie and Shirley were fast in the first 400m, always keeping up with our pace....they were getting strong. Lai Chee was taking the interval training as a means to boost her marathon timing. All were running hard. I did 3 sets of the 800m the same way, always starting not too fast, and then ending with a hard push. I took a toilet break during the 4th 800m set, and could only do a slow 400m just to stay warm. I gave it all in the last 800m set and could overtake some of the fast runners in the end, when they were exhausted by the 4th set...hehe.

When the final set was ended, the rain had stopped. The night was still humid as Bug, Peter, and the rest of the group ran back to the ClubHouse. PS and Alber were still strong, after their recent trip to krabi with a few MF friends...the rock-climbing must have toughened them up :). I enjoyed the thorough stretchdown by Julie, and was refreshed with ice-cold 100plus. Lai Chee brought some nice photos of her 2004 Gold Coast Marathon trip to share...real nice. Didn't join the gang at ABC market, and as it was quite late, I figured the Red Rice Wine Chicken would have ran headed home for some simple Korean Ramyun.

ClubHouse -> QST Stadium (4km) - 24min
1st set (1.6km) - 6:45
2nd set (800m) - 3:06
3rd set (800m) - 3:06
4th set (800m) - 3:08
5th set (800m) - break
6th set (800m) - 3:05
QST Stadium -> ClubHouse (4km) - 22min

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Run Of Reflections

Went down to SAFRA MF for the weekend LSD. I was planning to just tag along, and follow the group through the NUS Route. We haven’t done this rather ‘hilly’ route in a while. The turnout was small, and trainer Ong was still weak, having just recovered from fever. Lai Chee, runalone, Derrick, small chua, jimmy, KK, Peter, TLH, potheader were among those present. Kumaran and his boss, along with Tony went for a recce of the Mizuno 10km MF route.

We started off at a steady pace, with Jimmy, Ong, Derrick, Lai Chee leading the pack. I followed from behind, and was content to just do my own pace and let my mind drift. I felt fine through Depot Road, Pasir Panjang Rd and the rather long ‘99-winding road’. Spotted choonwei along Pasir Panjang Rd doing his ninja run. As we turned into NUH, it brought back the scene of Dad drawing his last breath just this Monday. I ‘choked’ a little, and said a prayer for him. I felt my breathing getting a little disturbed, but was able to get a hold of myself. I moved forward to overtake sChua, Lai Chee and Derrick, and led them up the slopes of NUS.

At the top of NUS, I waited for Derrick and Ong to come up, and seeing that there were no more runners behind, I followed them out onto the main road. I was getting quite tired by then…..must be the lack of exercise and sleep the whole week, although I did have quite enough to eat. I was still thinking of my Dad, and how he would asked us to run with him when I was young, and he would take a cab home midway into the short run…he was never one that exercised much, nor do any sports….haiz! As we ran up the NUS slopes again, I quickly caught up with Derrick and Lai Chee, and from there proceeded to run towards Science Park. As I passed NUH again, I thought of Dad…spotted Bill who was doing his own Ninja run. I felt exhausted as I ran up the small slopes and out of NUH, and when the rest came up, we proceeded into Science Park.

It was a real hot day, and the sun was drawing all my reserves. I could feel the rest being affected too. I was glad I had my fuel belt and 2 bottles of Gatorade mix. I went up the slopes of Kent Ridge Park with Derrick, and I pulled away to the top and waited at the tank for the rest. I felt I had quite a good workout by then, and decided I won’t do the MF loop up Morse Road. As we ran down Bukit Chandu, I was reflecting on why I felt weak. So much have happened this week, and it was probably having its effects on me. Out onto Pasir Panjang Rd, I was like a zombie, just picking my legs up and looking out for the next break. I took a short stop at the junction into Labrador Park, and then decided to have a water stop at the Shell Station just before Morse Road. When I came out, the rest have just moved ahead up MF. I was relieved not to be going up, but I still felt very tired.

I ran past Harbourfront, and when I approached Kampong Bahru, I was reminded of where Dad was laid to rest just down the beautiful niche in St. Theresa’s Church. There is a nice backdrop of rock formation, with small stream and pond, and carp swimming in it, and it being near to Mt. Faber does provide a nice setting for his soul to rest in peace. If there are available niches nearby, I would be very keen to get one too, as this area has become one of my favourite running place, amidst lush greenery and hill slopes. I said a prayer for him, as I took a brief walk pass the rock at the foot of MF @ Kg Bahru. I completed the final 2km stretch of Telok Blangah Rise to the ClubHouse, and was totally drained. A few of them were surprised I was back so early and thought that I had run fast….in fact, I skipped the MF slope from Morse Road….will leave it for another time when I am in better shape. This was one run where I had lots to think about and reflect upon, and it certainly made my shoulders and legs that much heavier and tiring. I think I completed 20km in 2hr5min, including all the breaks and walks.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

HK Marathon 2007: Certificate Of Achievement

The certificate for the Standard Chartered HongKong Marathon 2007 arrived, just shy of a month after the race. Wonder if there is any special meaning when they call it a Cert Of Achievement, instead of a Cert Of Participation?

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

SAFRA MF Location Run

It was quite a while since the last SAFRA location at Yishun last year. We had a nice time running as a large group of almost 100 in the Yishun Dam/Seletar Air Base then. Today was SAFRA MF's turn to host the combined SAFRA Location Run, where all members of the 3 branches come together to do a social run, in often scenic settings, at sight-seeing, smell-flower pace :).

A large turnout, especially from SAFRA Tampines....I was impressed by their tight bonding (in the words of DO). We were joined by Ultraman, Brokie, Vincent, SV and a few other friends. We set off for the 10km MF route, which were to be the route for the MF Ultra-Marathon Challenge in May. With 2 upcoming races in the Mt. faber area, there have been quite a lot of recent interest for runners to try out the legendary slopes in the area. I was running mid-pack, and slowly dropped back, catching up with friends from Tampines and Toa Payoh branches....we spoke about our Phuket Marathon adventure last year, some updates and gossips of running kakis whom we know of, plans for races this year, and other recent running-related happenings...very good intelligence from the grapevine for me...hehe

We took some nice photos on top of Mt. Faber, and at the Jewel Box. Many of the runners experiencing the slopes of MF found it a tough challenge they relished....I am sure many of them would have been hooked by the slopes, especially the ascent via Kampong Bahru...haha. They surely will remember this run for some time to come. After the 10km loop, we decided to do another 5km, pasrt of the Mizuno MF route for those who were to do the Mizuno 10km run on April 22. In a bit of a miscommunications, our dear Brokie went on her own to do the 5km run, leaving her boiboi Vincent in bewilderment....haha. Fortunately we found her later, and Vincent got his claypot laksa to calm his nerves...LOLZ.

I decided to sweep the rear for the remaining 5km run, ascending up Morse Road and going down Kampong Bahru. Some of the runners who had done the earlier slope, was finding the longer (but less steep) ascent tough. Cokiee, Ong and myself ran along to keep them company for most of the run back to the ClubHouse. There was a light drizzle to make the run cooling and refreshing. I enjoyed the slower-paced run, and took it as an opportunity to burn off some excesses. When we returned, most of the runners were having refreshments of 100plus, cakes, jellies and Shirlyn's famous 'Sng Pao'. Sam and Eddie were showcasing Pearl Izumi running shoes and apparel, which were interesting.

After wash up, a small group of us SgRunners and SAFRA MF Runners went to have the famous AV Claypot Laksa....yummy, i cleaned out my whole bowl of sinful laksa. Thanks to the committee of SAFRA MF Running Club for organizing yet another fun running event. Ultraman made rare guest appearance to play guide and photographer....thanks to sifu for his valuable visa time :). Thanks to Brokie, Vincent, SV and our friends for joining us to do this very short, casual run. I hope all had a great time, for I certainly had! Till the next SAFRA Location Run...

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